What an awesome year to be apart of PHP!
It has been an honor to meet such amazing people in our community. I’m blown away by the wealth of knowledge and experience some of our pillars of the community have. Due to learning from all of you out there who so freely give their expertise, so many others like me were able to step their game up.
Andreas and Josh hanging at ZendCon.
I’ve learned so much this year about new tools and libraries like Terraform, Groovy, & Docker. They have been pivotal in improving my new development workflows. It has been overwhelming at times but I always love the challenge of solving hard problems. Now as a 10 year veteran of software development, my biggest piece of advise is “Ask“. I think most people would be pleasantly surprised at the response you’ll receive. You will save yourself so much time by just asking questions and reaching out. We are all here to help each other and I feel you can learn from a novice or an expert. So don’t ever feel like you can’t teach someone else cause you’re “too new”. There are plenty of things I learn while helping anyone out. Most importantly, by reading the docs, talking to the right people, and understanding the code, you too can be a “Rockstar Developer”. However, I wasn’t always like this …
The office zoo occupied by my 3 ElePHPants.
In the beginning of my software development career, I made the mistake of coding in an “vacuum” (Solo or on a very small team). Never reaching out to others for guidance or exploring someone else’s code. This is where getting someone else’s point of view can be eyeopening in figuring out new ways of doing things you didn’t think about. Heck, even in college I never knew there were local user groups of people just wanting to learn more and teach others. Had I known these existed back then, I probably would’ve been going all the time.
While I was working solo in my “echo chamber”, I wrote my own frameworks instead of using one the few that existed back then ( CodeIgniter at the time was one I looked at and decided it looked too hard for me. Everyone’s made this mistake, right? 😛 ). With this type of mentality, you’ll corner yourself real quick. Learn from other peoples mistakes and use open source libraries built by some very nice people. Eventually you hopefully learn as I did that leveraging open source and the community is your best path to solving complex technical problems. Once you do that, you’ve graduated to Rockstar status in my opinion.
Personally for me, I feel like I learn the best when pushed to preform. Deadlines anyone? After ZendCon was the Money 20/20 Hackathon and that was also a huge learning experience when you only have 24 hours to build something. I went with a mentor of mine (Adam Englander) who has an awesome post about the experience which led us to getting mentioned in Forbes. I highly encourage die hard developers/designers/entrepreneurs to do a hackathon. You’ll learn the value of rapid prototyping real quick (thanks Laravel).
I’ve given out about 400 of these stickers for our UG so far.
PHP Vegas had it’s 2nd annual meetup at ZendCon and it was so great to see how one tweet filled both speaker spots in under 24 hours. Two people I didn’t even meet before halfway around the world wanted to share at the meetup. They did fantastic talks and just like last year, this meetup was our biggest of the year reaching 50-60 attendees. We are really fortunate we have such awesome people willing to go out of their way just to teach others for free and great sponsors like Zend, PHPNW Con, TekSystems, and so many others that support us. I continue to try and expand the users’ group here in Las Vegas and really believe the most successful users groups out there do a great job getting the new guys up to speed. Getting more “workshop” nights and tutorial talks is one of our goals for next year among other things like recording the meetups. My goal of starting a podcast in Q1 is driven by my passion to share my interests with the world and continue some of these great conversions happening on current podcasts like PHP Round Table, Voices of the ElePHPant, and many others.
Meeting people in communities like Zend, WordPress, Symfony, Drupal, Joomla, Laravel, FIG, and so many others has shown me how open and receptive the PHP community truly is. So if you’ve never been to a meetup, this next year make it a point to attend a meetup, teach someone something new and share! Get involved in the online conversations on topics that hit home for you. Even if it’s just fixing documentation, contribute to open source! Becoming apart of the community is as easy as introducing yourself. My new years resolution is continue to meet more people, learn more, and push myself to be the best possible dev I can be.
Thank you again for everyones support and lets keep the community strong.